Methamphetamine in waterways may be turning trout into addicts

Updated 6:06 PM ET, Tue July 6, 2021

Brown trout suffered withdrawal after being exposed to methamphetamine, researchers found.

Brown trout suffered withdrawal after being exposed to methamphetamine, researchers found.

(CNN)Brown trout can become addicted to the illegal drug methamphetamine when it accumulates in waterways, according to new research.Researchers led by Pavel Horky, a behavioral ecologist from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, set out to investigate whether illicit drugs alter fish behavior at levels found in bodies of water, according to the study published Tuesday.The team put 40 brown trout in a tank of water, containing a level of methamphetamine that has been found in freshwater rivers, for a period of eight weeks, before transferring them to a clean tank.

Researchers exposed 40 trout to methamphetamine for a period of eight weeks.

Researchers exposed 40 trout to methamphetamine for a period of eight weeks.Then every other day the researchers checked whether the trout were suffering from methamphetamine withdrawal by giving them a choice between water containing the drug or water without. A further 40 trout were used as a control group.

Trout that had spent eight weeks in water containing methamphetamine selected water containing the drug in the four days after moving to freshwater.

This indicates they were suffering withdrawal because they sought out the drug when it became available, according to the researchers.The team found that addicted fish were less active than those that had never been exposed to methamphetamine, and found traces of the drug in their brains up to 10 days after exposure.

The team concluded that even low levels of illicit drugs in bodies of water can affect the animals that live in them.Drugs excreted from users pass through sewage systems and then discharge from wastewater treatment plants, which are not designed to treat this kind of contamination, into waterways, according to the study.

“Fish are sensitive to adverse effects of many neurologically active drugs from alcohol to cocaine and can develop drug addiction related to the dopamine reward pathway in a similar manner as humans,” Horky told CNN via email.Horky raised concerns that drug addiction could make fish spend more time around water treatment discharges, which are unhealthy for them, in order to get another hit.”Such effects could change the functioning of whole ecosystems as adverse consequences are of relevance at the individual as well as population levels,” he said.Drug cravings could prove more powerful than natural rewards like foraging or mating, he added.The fish were later euthanized and their brain tissues analyzed.

The study underlines how humans pollute the natural environment beyond the noticeable things like oil slicks and plastic waste.Horky said the findings of this research had implications for the effects of prescription medicines such as fluoxetine, commonly known as Prozac, on aquatic life.”Current research from teams around the world undoubtedly shows their adverse impact on ecosystems, which in turn can influence humans,” he said.The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.It’s not the first time aquatic life has felt the effect of human pharmaceutical use.

In May 2019, researchers in the United Kingdom announced they had found traces of illicit drugs, pharmaceuticals and pesticides in samples of freshwater shrimp.And in May 2018, scientists working in Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean along the northwest coast of Washington state in the US, said that mussels in the area had tested positive for the prescription opioid oxycodone.

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Fly Fishing Meet Up with PA Fish and Boat

Sign Up Now for Fly Fishing Meet-Ups occurring in June in NEPA!

Location: Ricketts Glen State Park – Western Boat Launch
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🎣Pre-registration is required and can be completed at the (above) provided links.

LOYALSOCK CREEK WATERSHED ASSOCIATION CANE POLE FISHING DERBY

THE LOYALSOCK CREEK WATERSHED ASSOCIATION PRESENTS THE 16TH ANNUAL CANE POLE FISHING DERBY AT ROSE VALLEY LAKE ON MONDAY, MAY 31ST FROM 8AM UNTIL NOON.  WHILE THE DERBY IS AIMED AT PARTICIPANTS UNDER THE AGE OF 16 YEARS, EVERYONE INCLUDING FIRST TIME FISHERS IS INVITED TO ATTEND.  AT REGISTRATION, CONTESTANTS WILL RECEIVE A FISHING PACKAGE THAT INCLUDES A CANE POLE, FISHING LINE, HOOK, BOBBER, BAIT AND ALL NECESSARY INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS.  AN EMBROIDERED, COLLECTIBLE PATCH CELEBRATING THE EVENT WILL ALSO BE ISSUED (FIRST 125 REGISTRANTS ONLY)

House Republicans Pass Bill Legalizing Road Dumping Of Conventional Oil & Gas Well Wastewater, Rolling Back Environmental Protection Standards

On May 25, House Republicans voted to pass House Bill 1144House Bill 1144 (Causer-R-Cameron) that would not only roll back environmental protection standards for conventional oil and gas wells generally, but would also specifically make road dumping of drilling wastewater legal again. 

Gov. Wolf vetoed similar legislation in November. Read more here.

The bill now goes to the Senate for action.

Go to https://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2021/05/house-republicans-pass-bill-legalizing.html?m=1 for more information.

Road Dumping Of Oil & Gas Well Wastewater Is Happening Now In Crawford, Erie, Warren Counties As House Prepares To Take Up Bill This Week To Make It Legal

Taken from http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2021/05/road-dumping-of-oil-gas-well-wastewater.html?m=1. Please visit the site for much more information on this issue

Witnesses late Friday reported heavy road dumping of oil and gas well wastewater is occurring in southern Warren County and around Oil City in Venango County on back roads off of Route 27.

On Tuesday, witnesses said fresh road dumping of oil and gas well wastewater occurred outside of Corry in Erie County.

The dumping is believed to be wastewater from conventional oil and gas wells.

http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2021/05/road-dumping-of-oil-gas-well-wastewater.html?m=1All this is happening now when there is supposed to be a moratorium on road dumping of wastewater as a result of a settlement in a 2017 appeal of DEP’s requirements to the Environmental Hearing Board.  Read more here.

The only road dumping of oil and gas wastewater that is supposed to be happening is under a co-product determination that allows the use of treated waste that has similar properties to commercial products.  Read more here.

A witness said given the volume of road dumping they said is happening now, it is unlikely to all be legal co-product materials.

What Is Road Dumping?

Photos that were part of the 2017-2018 Environmental Hearing Board appeal show the process involved in road dumping. (See photos above from the case with this article.)

Road dumping of oil and gas wastewater on dirt roads involves a vac truck making typically three passes on each section of road using a combination of an open value on the back of the truck and then a blanket pass with a homemade spreader bar that offers no control on the amount of brine spread.

Click Here to see photos from the case.  They were taken by the vac truck operator.

DEP Staff Reductions

DEP’s Oil and Gas Management Program cannot fill an estimated 40 positions– nearly 18 percent of its staff- out of a complement of 226 due to a reduction in revenue from oil and gas drilling permit fees earmarked to fund the program.

These are the staff responsible for enforcing oil and gas drilling-related regulations, including the proper disposal of drilling wastewater.

DEP reported in December it expects a 70 percent decline in revenue from the permit fees this year because of the general downturn in the natural gas industry over the last two years primarily due to natural gas prices.  New fees increases were just effective on August 1, 2020.  Read more here.

House To Move Bill Legalizing Road Dumping

House Republican leadership notified its members Friday they will put House Bill 1144 (Causer-R-Cameron) up for a final vote this week hoping to move it to the Senate quickly.

The bill would not only roll back environmental protection standards for conventional oil and gas wells generally, but would also specifically make road dumping of drilling wastewater legal again. 

Gov. Wolf vetoed similar legislation in November. Read more here.

Opposition

On May 3, the Environmental Defense Fund and the PA Environmental Council wrote to members of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee urging them to vote against House Bill 1144 (Causer-R-Cameron) setting standards for conventional oil and gas drilling because the bill would result in “dramatic reductions to health and environmental protections that are unwarranted and unsafe.”  Read more here.

“Instead of adjusting for true differences between conventional and unconventional operations, House Bill 1144 inappropriately shifts the costs and risks inherent in conventional operations to the citizens of the Commonwealth.”

“While we recognize that low commodity prices have hampered the conventional industry, that challenge is wholly unrelated to protection standards. It certainly does not warrant the unraveling of standards that have been in place, and practiced by both the conventional and unconventional industries, for decades.

“EDF and PEC have continually stated our willingness to come to the table and work with the General Assembly, Administration, and conventional industry to develop an appropriate framework.”

Click Here for a copy of the letter.

On May 4, a letter and petition organized by Berks Gas Truth was sent in anticipation of consideration of the bill by the House Committee.  Read more here.

Although the bill is full of bad provisions, the group focused on the same issue it focused on in the last session when a similar bill, Senate Bill 790, was making its way through the legislature. 

Last year’s bill would have reinstated the practice of road spreading of toxic, radioactive drilling waste on unpaved roads. This year’s bill, and its Senate counterpart, Senate Bill 534, would allow the waste to be spread on paved roads, as well.

Last year, the group presented a letter to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee the morning of its consideration of Senate Bill 790. The Committee amended the bill to remove the road spreading provision. 

The letter updates and appends that letter to express that much attention has been given to the contents of drilling waste since last year and concerns for potential impacts to water and air quality, human health, and safety have only increased.

“The people spoke clearly last year and the Committee, and ultimately Governor Wolf who vetoed the bill he rightly considered to be a bad bill even without the road spreading provision, heard them. This time, the House is moving this bill very quickly. With only a short time to circulate the letter and petition, we exceeded the number of signatures we’d gathered last time. Let’s face  it, ‘I’d like toxic, radioactive waste to be spread on the roads where I live,’ said no one ever,” said Karen Feridun, Founder of Berks Gas Truth.